The Mustangs’ defense ready for the snap under the lights at Summit High School. (Photo by DEBBIE RANEY)

Final TD scored with three seconds left in game

By Debbie Raney
Burns Times-Herald

Two points — one two-point conversion — was the deciding factor in the semi-finals game between the Crane Mustangs and the Perrydale Pirates. With three seconds left in the game, the Pirates broke a 32-32 tie with a two-point conversion run by Tell Cruickshank, taking the 1A semi-final win and ending the Mustangs’ season, just one game short of the championship.

Playing in Bend at Summit High School, the Mustangs and the Pirates locked horns throughout the entire game, playing even all the way through four quarters.

Perrydale got the ball first in the game, with a Blaise Schulze kickoff taking them all the way back to their own eight. The Pirates used over eight minutes to get the ball to the Mustangs’ 25, before Tanner Titus and Nic Nyman forced a fumble, recovered for Crane by Nyman. The Mustangs had the ball on their own 49.

On Crane’s opening snap, Ryan Opie kept the ball and went down the right sideline, with blocking from Greg Thompson and Cole Maupin. Opie scored the first six of the game on the 51-yard run. The Mustangs’ conversion attempt failed.

Another strong kick by Schulze had the Pirates backed up to their own 4 to start their second offensive drive, and the first quarter ended during the possession.

Perrydale took another four minutes to move the ball to the Mustangs’ 3. Cruickshank tied the score 6-6 on a touchdown run, with Crane stopping the Pirates two-point conversion pass.

The Mustangs began their next possession on their own 36. Carries by Thompson and Maupin moved the ball to the 50. On a third and 8, Levi Miller broke free in the flats, 30 yards down field. R. Opie hit him with the pass and Miller ran in for the Mustangs’ second touchdown. The score stood 12-6, as Crane’s two-point conversion attempt failed.

Perrydale tied the score up again on the ensuing possession, with Cruickshank once again finishing the Pirates drive on a 2-yard run. The Mustangs kept the score tied at 12-12, as they stopped the conversion run.

With 1:37 on the second-quarter clock, the Pirates intercepted a R. Opie pass, taking over near mid-field. But two plays later, Maupin forced a fumble, which was recovered by Titus for the Mustangs on Perrydale’s 49. With 20 seconds left, T. Opie ran a crossing route and found himself all alone on the 25. R. Opie connected with his brother, and Crane went up 18-12. The Mustangs’ two-point conversion run was stopped.

The Mustangs opened up the third quarter on offense, but couldn’t get any momentum going. The Pirates took over on downs on their own 49. In four plays, the score was tied at 18-18, with a 1-yard Cruickshank run. R. Opie batted down the conversion pass, keeping the score even.

The beginning of the fourth quarter had Perrydale knocking on the door to score again at the 7-yard line. R. Opie picked off a pass at the goal line, and ran the interception back to the 37. Wilson Witzel, R. Opie Maupin and Thompson carried the ball to the Pirates’ 22. Facing a fourth and inches, Crane stacked the middle, with Perrydale lined up to stop the run. T. Opie came off the right side, ran across to the left, caught a pass in mid-stride and went untouched in for the score. For the first time in the game, the Mustangs were able to pick up the extra two on a conversion pass from R. Opie to Miller, and the Mustangs took a 26-18 lead.

Perrydale then answered back on their next possession with a 33 yard touchdown run by Cruickshank. The Pirates, too, were successful on the conversion, with Josh Hiebenthal running it in. With 7:28 left in the game, the score was tied once again at 26-26.

Two minutes later, the Mustangs regained the lead. Starting at their own 39, Crane went 58 yards in seven plays, and were on the Pirates’ 3. Working from the shotgun, R. Opie took the snap, and ran straight ahead through a wide-open front line. The conversion pass failed, and Crane was ahead 32-26.

In spite of repeated quarterback pressure from Witzel and Thompson, stops at the line of scrimmage by Nyman and Cash Casey and pass coverage by R. Opie and Miller, Perrydale used the remaining five minutes of the game to push the ball from their own 36 to Crane’s 7-yard line. With 3.8 seconds left in the game, Corbin Reed passed to Hiebenthal to tie the score at 32-32. The game-winning two-point conversion had Cruickshank adding three more yards to his stats, as he busted straight ahead and dove in, picking up the deciding two points.

The Pirates will go on to play for the 1A championship against Camas Valley, this Saturday in Cottage Grove.

1    2    3    4   Final
Cra      6   12   0   14    32
Per      0   12   6   16    34

First quarter
Cra — R. Opie 51 run (run failed) 3:23.
Second quarter
Per — Cruickshank 3 run (run failed) 8:35.
Cra — Miller 50 pass from R. Opie (run failed) 6:18.
Per — Cruickshank 1 run (run failed) 2:32.
Cra — T. Opie 47 pass from R. Opie (run failed)
Third quarter
Per — Cruickshank 1 run (pass failed) 8:01.
Fourth quarter
Cra — T. Opie 21 pass from R. Opie (Miller pass from R. Opie) 9:33.
Per — Cruickshank 33 run (Hibenthal run) 7:28.
Cra — R. Opie 3 run (pass failed) 5:15.
Per — Hiebenthal 7 pass from Reed (Cruickshank run) .03.

Individual statistics
RUSHING — Mustangs: R. Opie 11/69, Maupin 11/34, Thompson 5/27, Witzel 3/9; Pirates: Cruickshank 44/237, Hiebenthal 10/80; Reed 5/-19.
PASSING — Mustangs: R.Opie 9/17/1/158; Pirates: Reed 12/17/1/185.
RECEIVING — Mustangs: T. Opie 4/85, Miller 3/81, Thompson 1/4, Maupin 1/1, R. Opie 0/-3; Pirates: Hiebenthal 6/100, Cruickshank 4/46, Dunn 2/39.

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